Pollard becomes latest Tiger to declare for the NFL Draft

By Published: January 12, 2019 6:15 PM CT Breaking news

Running back Tony Pollard declared for the NFL Draft Friday evening after his redshirt junior season. 

The Melrose High School product leaves Memphis tied for the NCAA record in kickoff return touchdowns with seven in three seasons. His last kickoff for a touchdown was a 97-yarder against against Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl.

"We fully support him in all he's going to do," head coach Mike Norvell said. "I know he's got a bright future in front of him. I know he's going to get to working. Like he said in his Twitter post, he'll always be a Tiger. Just the embrace and respect in what the city has meant to him. He's one of the greats all time in Memphis."

Norvell used Pollard as a Swiss Army knife on offense. As a wide receiver, he had 1,292 yards in receptions, nine of them for touchdowns. When Norvell used him as a running back, Pollard scampered for 941 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Tigers have benefitted from Pollard's ability to return kickoffs over the past three years. He broke a 20-year streak where the Tigers hadn't returned a kickoff for a touchdown in 19 seasons when Pollard broke one off for a touchdown in 2016. 

Norvell knew Pollard was something special the minute he laid all eyes on him shortly after becoming the Tigers head coach. Nobody knew the freshman out of Melrose because he had redshirted the previous season. 

"I'll never forget the first time I saw him out on that practice field," Norvell said. "I saw some flashes of what i knew would potentially be a great player. We're fortunate to put him in a lot of great situations and roles that he really flourished in." 

Pollard graduated with a degree in Sports and Leisure Management early in December. 

Losing Pollard is a blow to the Tigers who also are losing record-setting running back Darrell Henderson. Running back Patrick Taylor and wide receiver Damonte Coxie are the only main weapons returning for the Tigers. 

Freshman Kenny Gainwell sat behind Pollard last season. He redshirted learning from Pollard and then-graduate assistant Tony Tokarz. 


Mike Norvell Tony Pollard Memphis Tigers Football NFL
Jonah Jordan

Jonah Jordan

Jonah Jordan was born and raised in Memphis, graduated from the University of Memphis and has covered the Memphis Tigers for three years. When he's not writing, he enjoys golfing and eating barbecue.

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